“Taking her by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha cumi’, which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise. ‘”

Don’t you just love Mark 5:41? Aren’t there countless times in our lives where we have felt dead (just as we are told in previous verses that Jairus’s daughter was indeed dead)? And what a Word that Jesus spoke to her just as He speaks to us, “Arise.”

Kelsey Mendez’s  teaching from Mark 5:21-43 was so perfect for the first Club of 2017, for the new  year, for a fresh reminder to ALL of us to continue to believe in and stand firm in knowing that regardless of our circumstances, the Lord is standing before us with His Word, with His encouragement, with His grace, mercy and love telling us to A R I S E.

I’m so excited remembering the teaching from January Club that I need to take a quick minute to back up and recap the whole sweet evening – that was the assignment you know?!

Club night starts way before the actual Club takes place – prayer coverage over the night , reminders to the teens, childcare scheduling, driver scheduling, mentors connecting with their girls/guys, décor, skits/games, musicians booked, craft planned, set up & tear down volunteers scheduled, dinner, drinks, & dessert. And of course ALL the details that go along with each of those mentioned. So much prep. So much love. So much shining Jesus before the night even happens!

For the night of January 19th, everyone was greeted with super cute Valentine décor – tulips, hydrangeas, XOXO table runners, conversation hearts and Hersheys Kisses.  I mean it – really, really cute stuff happening EVERY single month with the décor!

Then, let’s talk about the crazy good little sandwiches that were served up – turkey and provolone on Hawaiian sweet rolls that were baked with a sugar & butter topping that was sheer deliciousness (good-bye to everyone’s 2017 diet resolutions!) The food prepared by one of the Life Groups (okay…it is my Life Group – haha!) this year has been tasty. But more than just the taste, these meals are prayed over during preparation and truly put together by some amazing servants.DSC_0213.jpg

Moving on to the childcare…how amazing is it that we have this crew of beautiful souls that walk in every month to rock babies and play with toddlers? Who does this aside from Jesus shiners????

Okay, let’s talk about Abby Clark and her crew (these folks are just plain crazy in all the BEST ways!) that can get a roomful of people into competing  groups that each had about 8 minutes to make up a song, practice it and then perform their artistic song/dance masterpiece before a panel of judges. But wait – these songs must include the following words: Lollipop, friend, heart, fly, river – WHAT???? It was hilarious but quite honestly it made me sweat in panic…and humility. Let’s just say that everyone gave it their best but I think all would agree that Jude Sumner killed it for his team with his break dancing skills!

This Club year has had the privilege of having Cooper & Kaia to share music – pretty cool since they themselves are high schoolers. High schoolers that are playing music for their own peer group, but living day to day life in different circumstances. This is God. (Okay, they are stinkin adorable too!!!) There was something really special about their leading of “Your Presence Lord” – He was present.

At this point in the evening is where Kelsey shared from Mark 5:21-43. Along with the message of God calling us to arise she reminded us that He will love us up. He will cover our mistakes. She even gave each of us a band-aid as a visual reminder that He covers over our boo-boos. Sweet, right? He is a good, good Father.

The night progressed to the craft room where if one didn’t know better, it looked as if potions were being made. But alas, it was our sweet Tracy teaching the girls how to make wonderful, smell-good essential oil blends. Her soft spoken words, coolest crafts ever and approachability provide such an atmosphere of peace and calmness for the girls/mentors. Really good conversations are held in this room.

All this on a Thursday night in January. And you know what? Because of flu season, job schedules, and tough circumstances for some of the teens, there were only a handful of girls and their babies there this particular night. And you know what? God knew EXACTLY who needed to be there and it was a sweet night. And God was there with us.

Written with His loving kindness, Colleen

I’ve been labeled

It’s the truth.  I have been labeled the woman who prays.  And I do, pray that is.  A lot.  But I didn’t realize others noticed much and found it interesting that this became my “label” because in my past, I had other not so great labels attached to me.  I didn’t grow up having a relationship with God and I didn’t even make that decision until I was 34 yrs old.  I never went to Bible school, I used to laugh at Christians – I thought they were just weird people who were always smiling and going to church, I used to get myself in all sorts of trouble, I was in a failing marriage.  I was in a failing marriage with a man I still deeply loved.  So, one day out of desperation, I got on my knees (literally) and I started talking to God.  I did believe He existed somewhere out there.  And I told Him how much I loved my husband and how I wanted Him to fix my marriage.  I guess I prayed.  I prayed and God answered and I haven’t stopped praying since.  About 6 months after that first prayer, I became a Christian.  Kind of ironic, since I used to laugh at them.  But, I realized God does listen and hear us.  I bought books on prayer and one was by a woman named, Stormie Omartian.  In The Power of a Praying Woman she writes “We’ve all had times when we felt completely powerless in the face of our circumstances.  We’ve proven to ourselves over and over that we don’t have what it takes to attain any kind of permanent transformation in our lives.  We know without a doubt that our best efforts to change ourselves or our circumstances in ways that are significant or lasting never work.  We recognize our need for a power outside of and far greater than ourselves.  But there is only one power in the world great enough to help us rise above ourselves and the difficult things we face.  That is the power of God.”  I read her words and I was hooked.  There was sooooo much about myself that needed to change. And like Stormie said, we can’t change ourselves.  I learned that truth the hard way.  And so I prayed.

Do all of my prayers get answered?  No.  And I actually have a few that I am thankful God didn’t answer the way I wanted Him to years ago.  But prayer has brought me closer to God because I’m talking with Him and waiting and listening for Him.  It’s like with anyone in life – when we spend time with people, when we share our heart with them, when we listen and hear their heart on matters, when we cry with them and when we laugh with them, bonds are formed and we become close friends.  God has become my Friend.  And I have become a praying woman, a label I’m happy to have.IMG_1895.jpg


-Lisa Bryan YoungLives Prayer Coordinator

2012 was the beginning here we are in 2017 And it never ends!

Hey everyone my name is Amber and i’m 21 years old. I’m engaged to Lalo 23, I have two boys Jesse 4 and Rafa 3, and I have been with YoungLives since December 20th 2012. My little family and I have come along way since then. From when I was the teen mom I can remember getting greeted with love, and given diapers and clothes, to now being the one giving back and being able to feel what it’s like on the other side. To volunteer and be able to give love to the new teen mom’s and their families every club.


Younglives is a big part of my life. I think it’s a big part of alot of our lives. I wouldn’t miss a club for the world. I try my best to make every event possible.
I’ve been given love, advice,  happiness and good kinda sadness.

But in this blog I want to talk about the journey I have came from to where I am today. My life wasn’t all that easy. High school wasn’t that great. I didn’t really have my mother or father I had myself. I met Lalo, I got pregnant, I met myrna and went to club. I lived with a full family house with so much negativity. It hasn’t been easy it never really is but when I need the comfort, I have it from all the mentors in YoungLives. I’ve been baptized, I’ve gone to church but church wasn’t for me. No matter how hard I tried. I had to find my own way to get close to God. When I need Him He’s there for me. But through YoungLives I have gotten to know God better and become closer to him. Through YoungLives I have been able to grow closer to God and grow up as well. Now 2017 is here and this year is already pretty good we are getting our 1st apartment in February. I got a job I love, I work with Mary Kay.15934705_10207820474254337_1036352636_n

I’m so happy to say that YoungLives has made a group for the alumni teen mom’s. The group is call going deeper. It’s just a great group alot of us teen mom alumni come and it’s just where we can learn different ways to get closer to God and hear stories from mentors on how they got closer to God. We bring our kids with us and they get to play with all the alumni kids and it’s just amazing to see all our families grow and get to know one another on a deeper level. I’m so glad I got to be apart of going deeper in the new year  and become a volunteer has been awesome. Through all the years I’ve been with YoungLives,  every year gets better and has had a big impact on my life. I am so excited for this year to come, to be more involved with YoungLives and all the mommies and their babies. I hope more years to come.15910352_10207820473454317_1714794306_n

To end the blog I just want to say for those who aren’t volunteering yet, I just want you to know once you do start you’ll never wanna stop. For the teen mom’s don’t ever think there is no one there for you, there is always someone there for you through YoungLives. We are just one message or call away. We love you ladies with all our heart. All we want to do is help you and love you as much as we can.


Love, Alumni Amber15909804_10207820473174310_922142945_n

Loving Santa Ana One Person at a Time

“Loving Santa Ana One Person at a Time”- this is something that God placed specifically on our hearts when we felt the call to plant a church in Downtown Santa Ana. While the city is large, and needs can seem endless, God reminded us that our calling is really to be present with and love the person right in front of us.
To do this, we knew that our church couldn’t just be about what happened on the weekend. We needed to be with our neighbors each day of the week, and build relationships with whoever he brought our way. So we prayed about what opportunities would be right for our community.
Right about the time we moved to Downtown Santa Ana, we met Myrna. Myrna said that YoungLives, a unique part of Young Life that focused on teen parents, had been really successful in growing a group in Huntington, but many of the girls that came traveled all the way from Santa Ana. This may sound close miles-wise, but in prime Orange County traffic, this can take over an hour. So it made sense to start a club close to home for these parents. It also made sense that this could be a unique opportunity for our church to be a part of! We helped launched the club last January, and have been so blessed to see the growth in not only the club, but individual parents as well.
Each month we gather with the parents that attend to enjoy a meal, play a game, hear a message, and have some guy/girl time. It is a great opportunity for the parents to also just relax and be teens. Our volunteers help serve food, play with the kids, join into the games, and have conversations over crafts or cupcakes.

Mike Rigdon giving a talk on our need for Christ at our last club

Personally, I have been driving two girls each week to club. They literally live in my neighborhood, and I am thankful for the chance to have gotten to know them. Each month we get to catch up on what they have been up to and talk about how much their daughters have grown. I also regularly see them in my neighborhood as I am out and about. I love getting to know these girls and feel privileged to be a part of their larger community.
This week we had a great start to the New Year at our January club. All of us at Reunion Church are excited for the ways that God is going to use Younglives in Santa Ana and in the lives of the parents we serve!

-Jessi Rigdon

To find more about Reunion Church check out their website or follow them on instagram
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